Well Patriots fans the day has finally come when Tom Brady is no longer our starting quarterback. To make matters worse, it’s not because he retired but because he is now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Yesterday’s news will leave a bad taste in all of our mouths, and perhaps some tear-filled tissues in the trash it was for the best. How can losing our franchise quarterback of the last twenty years who led us to six Superbowl titles be for the best?
One reason is we didn’t give up any future assets for the short term. The Bills gave up four draft picks, including a first-round pick in this years draft, for Stefon Diggs. While Diggs is a very talented player that is a very steep price to pay. The Patriots, even with Brady last year, had several holes on their roster and will need as many picks as possible to fill those spots with quality players.
Brady said from day one of this saga that he wanted weapons and it wasn’t about the money. If that was, in fact, true or not we won’t know because he has both now in Tampa. The Patriots simply did not have the trade chips needed to go out and acquire weapons for Brady and fill the other needs this roster has. This team has always planed for the next five years, and making moves to keep Brady in New England goes against that philosophy. While letting Brady walk makes us worse here and now, moving the picks or desirable players needed to keep him could have cost us even more years of success after Brady eventually retired.
Another good thing is we didn’t overpay for some star free agent. Amari Cooper, for example, signed a 5 year $100 Million contract to stay with the Cowboys. Cooper was recently mentioned as a potential target for the Patriots, but at that price with Brady still needing a contract the Pats simply did not have the cap room. Over the years we have seen what the Patriots can do with even a small amount of cap space. The money we saved not bringing in a big name weapon can be used to fill multiple positions of need.
Bill Belichick has always said he would rather move a player a year early rather than a year late. Perhaps this is being applied to Brady, who clearly was not his usual dominant force last year. Brady will be 43 at the start of next season, and if history has taught us anything it’s that quarterbacks over 40 can fall off a cliff at any time. Even if Brady has a resurgence next season how long will that last? Moving future assets for an uncertain short term flies in the face of what has made this team so good for so long.
Brady’s departure also means Jarrett Stidham gets his chance to shine. We could also draft a top quarterback coming out of college with the 23rd pick. While it would have been nice if Brady was around to mentor his future replacement, the Patriots aren’t your typical team starting a young quarterback. While this team has it’s problems, it was still a 12 win team last year. And the bulk of its core players at returning.
With the Brady era over this team can once again start to build towards its next period of success. Likely with another haul of compensatory and a firm direction we can and will move forward. I’m not saying we will win the Super Bowl next year, or even the year after, but not mortgaging the future to prop open a closing window is a good thing. The next few years could be a rude awakening for us, but it is a necessary part of building the next Patriots dynasty. Even if the worst happens just think of what Bill could do with a top 10 pick in the first round. The offseason is still just getting started, with plenty of time left and work to be done. Keep checking back for all the latest updates on all your favorite Boston teams.
From all of us in Patriots Nation thank you Tom, and best of luck.
Featured image courtesy of Brian Fluharty/ USA TODAY Sports/ Reuters.